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Jochen Ott

"bewitching, bold & brave..."

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 meet Jochen Ott Image

meet Jochen Ott

Jochen Ott admits he was spellbound by glass as an artistic material when he first explored its potential over a decade ago and decided to study at the Glasfachschule Zwiesel in Bavaria, Germany; whereafter he joined the London Glassblowing team in 2007.

The evolutionary, oxymoronic nature of its elemental states, from glowing and fluid to sharp, rigid and fragile and everything in between, has meant his fascination in the medium has never faded.

‘I suppose I see it as something alive… a moving substance that you take in an embryonic form, breathe life into, and then carefully, physically shape its growth.’

His work examines the cosmic relation and connection of nature’s entities. Currently, he is exploring the idea of producing multiples and pairs, and the play of illusion and perception in relation to these, as well as the congruity and disruption of natural surfaces and structure.

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The Interview

Experimenting with a craft is a vital part of the learning process for any artist but the huge demands on time mean many have to skip straight to the nuts and bolts of making and selling, making and selling.

For Jochen Ott in many respects it was the other way round. He enjoyed experimenting with glass so much that he had to force himself to get organised in order to make his living.

Studying glass at home in Germany, Bavaria, Jochen secured a place on a European Exchange Programme which enabled him to spend seven months with Peter Layton at London Glassblowing.

Serving his apprenticeship as chief floor sweeper and then rising through the ranks, Jochen admits to being obsessed with experimentation.

“At school I was more or less experimenting all the time – looking at different techniques and styles,” he explains.

“I was making something quite simple but then just kept developing it and taking the piece in different directions. It was great fun but I knew I had to really plan my pieces going forwards so I could really develop and identify my own style.”

Jochen’s work is bewitching. Bold, brave, almost tortured, his works have something incredibly raw at the heart – seemingly hewn from bits of lava or carved from the depths of a volcano.

“My inspiration is drawn from the tranquillity and rawness of nature,” he says openly, admitting that many of his pieces look quite moody.

“I look at life in all its forms, while also harnessing the qualities of this extraordinary material itself.  It carries boundless creative properties within.”

Jochen’s wide use of techniques, playing with the form and distorting shapes and surfaces, means he can explore transparency and opacity; aspiring to create tension and harmony, movement and stillness.

Of course, not everyone sees it this way.

“I’m pretty sure my parents both sit there thinking ‘get a real job’,” he smiles. “My sister is a sculptor so at least I have some solidarity from her!

“I often wonder what I would do if I wasn’t coming here every day and the real answer is that I have no idea. I’ve invested a huge part of my life in this building and the artists around me have invested huge amounts of their time in me. It’s a hugely creative place to be with everyone feeding off each other – advising, helping, assisting – so without that I’d feel completely lost.”

Does he like it when other people see his work a different way – spotting joy where he sees pain, or light where he planned darkness?

“As a lot of my work is quite abstract I suppose it’s open to interpretation,” says Jochen carefully. “I’m not precious enough to think everyone should see it the same way that I see it. Artists are renowned for being precious so I hope to be a bit bigger than that. At the end of the day we all need to sell our work to survive so who are we to tell a customer that they’ve misread it?”

Yet there is one exception to this rule.

“The only thing I would take exception to is someone displaying a piece upside down, or the wrong way round. Then I would get precious!”

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The Video

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“I look at life in all its forms, while also harnessing the qualities of this extraordinary material itself..."

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